Canadian curlers have plenty of support in Sochi

Brent Laing, partner of Team Canada curler Jennifer Jones, is in Sochi to support her during the...

Brent Laing, partner of Team Canada curler Jennifer Jones, is in Sochi to support her during the Olympics. (IAN KUCERAK/QMI Agency)

Ted Wyman, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:36 PM ET

SOCHI, RUSSIA - Brent Laing travelled halfway around the world to do something he doesn't like -- watch curling.

"I hate it," he said Monday, while watching his partner, Jennifer Jones compete in the opening draw of the Olympic tournament.

"It's really hard to watch. It's so much harder because you have no control. It's much harder to watch than it is to play. When you're playing you are in the heat of the moment and you have some control. It's probably a man thing, the lack of control sucks."

Laing, a two-time world champion who curls with Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ont., was sitting with all the family members of the Canadian team Monday, including accomplished curler Mike McEwen of Winnipeg, who is married to lead Dawn McEwen.

McEwen and Laing both competed in the Olympic Curling Trials in December in Winnipeg and would have dearly loved to have been out on the ice instead of in the stands Monday.

"It's a pretty good consolation prize, having Jen here and being able to come over and watch them and experience the Olympics," Laing said. "It's obviously not from the side of the boards that I'd want to be on but, in any event, I'm super excited to be here. It's definitely nerve-wracking though."

McEwen, who recently lost the Manitoba curling final to Jeff Stoughton, hopes to be the one doing the curling at the Olympics one of these days, but for now, he's just a No. 1 fan.

"It's a surreal experience just being a spectator for the Olympics and watching your spouse playing just adds another dimension," McEwen said.

Down on the ice, the Canadian curlers were certainly buoyed by their families in the stands. There was a whole row of parents, siblings and spouses at the Ice Cube Curling Center.

"They've sacrificed as much as we have so we can play in this event," Jones said. "And with Brent here I can talk to him after the game and get his opinion on things and he's definitely helped me be the player I am today."

Dawn McEwen says the curling husbands have done a good job of being supportive without trying to do too much coaching.

"No, they haven't tried that," she said, with a laugh.

"It's just nice having them up there and getting the support from them. It means a lot to us."

Jones has lots of family here, including her parents Larry and Carol from Winnipeg, but her two-year-old daughter Isabella is home with Laing's mother.

"I'm trying to keep notes every day of things that I think about when I think about her," she said. "Just special moments so that when she's old enough to understand I can tell her that she was a huge part of this for me.

"I wear a necklace that says her name so she's here with me."

ted.wyman@sunmedia.ca

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